The Pink Panther in: A Pink Christmas

Richard Petro

twitter @ThePetroProject

December 24, 2018

     The 1964 release of The Pink Panther was met with success, with Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau breaking away from the initial ensemble film as the standout. But the other massive breakout star of the film came from its opening credit sequence, introducing a literal, anthropomorphic Pink Panther to the world.

     The opening proved to be such a success that the character went on to having quite an illustrious career outside the films, showing up in over a hundred shorts, his own TV shows, games and more. Fondly looked upon as a beloved silent character and one of the last of the Classic Hollywood style animated centerpieces, it seems odd that he isn’t as integral to pop culture as he used to be, since he is an incredible likable and sweet character.

     The same can be said for the 1978 holiday special A Pink Christmas. Airing 40 years ago, December 7th, 1978, A Pink Christmas was the first 22-minute full TV special featuring the character. Following The Pink Panther himself as he has nowhere to go for the holidays, and nothing to eat, he gets into a series of misfortunes, misunderstandings, and plain old string of bad luck as he tries to get by on the holiday.

     It makes me sad that this special has not really caught on as a must see for the season, never really finding its way onto lists that I usually see floating around involving specials one should watch. I don’t really want to get too spoiler-y about the entire thing, but it perfectly exemplifies the season, touching on certain aspects that you don’t necessarily see tackled that often in children’s fare, or not the centerpiece as much as it is here. The way it builds how the Pink Panther attempts to find himself some warmth, food, shelter, or even some loose change to go towards these things is exquisite. It consistently feels heartfelt and serious, and finds its comedy in misunderstandings. There is a sweet, sad story here that builds towards a sincerely touching ending.

     A Pink Christmas is the perfect jump on point for anyone that may not be familiar with the shorts, showcasing its impeccable timing and silent comedy, as well as presenting the Pink Panther himself as the likable character he is, and why. The great use of blocking and its sweet overall message and ending are amongst the reasons why I feel it should be seen instead of me recounting all the happenings, especially since, like mentioned, I feel it should be more prominent on lists of great holiday specials.

     What makes all of this even better is the fact that you can view it now on the Official Pink Panther YouTube channel. A Pink Christmas can be viewed below, but I highly recommend visiting the channel itself and exploring more of the world of the Pink Panther.